Crossbenchers’ decision makes the bill’s passage through Senate difficult and puts the Coalition’s broader overhaul of the welfare system under a cloud
The Nick Xenophon Team will refuse to support the government’s plans to drug test welfare recipients, throwing a broader overhaul of the welfare system into doubt.
A spokeswoman for Rebekha Sharkie confirmed the NXT, which holds crucial crossbench votes in the Senate, will oppose the controversial drug-testing measure.
“At this point in time, NXT has reached the position of not supporting random drug testing,” she told Guardian Australia.
The government wants to drug test 5,000 welfare recipients at three trial locations; Logan in Queensland, Canterbury-Bankstown in south-western Sydney, and Mandurah in Western Australia.
Those who fail tests would first be placed on income management, then referred for drug treatment, and finally stripped of income support, should they choose not to engage.